THE UNITED STATES. 491
bee at less cost. The same condition exists to some extent in the United States, where the people are urged to make a ship waterway out of the present Erie Canal, when the interest on the money needed to do this would probably pay the freight by railroad on all the material brought down. In both the case of the Canadian, and American canals there is the serious objection that traffic is entirely suspended for three or four months in the winter, while in the case of the St. Lawrence Eiver there is the additional disadvantage that the navigation of the lower bay for several hundred miles is very dangerous, on account of the prevailing fogs. Of late years the question of marine insurance has become a serious matter.
All of these matters have an important bearing on the question of locating a steel plant on Lake Erie, as proven by the stress laid on water transportation by canal and by the St. Lawrence when each new project is started. These objections, however, are by no means prohibitory. The advantages are self-evident, and it may be said that the trend of new enterprises is toward this district. One of the first to make the journey was the Lorain Steel Company. There had been for some years a rolling mill near Johnstown, Pa., which bought blooms from the Cambria Company and made rails for street railways. A new works was built near Cleveland, equipped not only for street or "girder" rails, but for standard rails, a complete blast furnace and Bessemer plant being erected on entirely new ground, but the work on frogs, switches and special work is still done at Johnstown. Since that time Lorain has been one of the centers of steel production in the United States. It divides with Steelton the work of making all tile rails and most of the equipment for the street railways of the United States, and both of these plants have taken a part in foreign trade in this line of work.
The more immediate vicinity of Cleveland has played a very important part in the steel industry of this country for a long period. The Otis Steel Company was one of the pioneers in the manufacture of open-hearth firebox steel, and its name has been known all over the land. The Cleveland Rolling Mill Company was a factor in the rail situation twenty years ago, but has long since turned its product into special work, it being one of the largest producers of wire rod in the country.
In 1903 the new plant of the Lackawanna Steel Company was